I'm not the type to get hyped in the first week of the season, but one thing I wanted to make sure and keep an eye on was the early play of CJ Harris, Konner Tucker and Ari Stewart. Two games does not a season make, but it seems pretty clear that the young ones will have a real impact this year.
11/13 vs. Oral Roberts: 11 points, 4/8 FG, 1/2 FT, 2/5 3PT, 3 Rebounds, 0 TO
11/15 vs. ECU: 9 points, 4/6 FG, 1/2 3PT, 2 Rebounds, 4 TO
Ari has shown already that he can shoot the basketball. 8/14 is a great start to the season as is 3/7 beyond the arc. The Deacs have been looking for a good three point shooter for years now and if Ari can provide that, he will be a big time part of the puzzle. His size makes it easy for him to get his shot off.
He has pretty decent handles but needs to make sure that he takes care of the basketball and does not fall into the same sort of traps that James Johnson did and that Aminu did at times his freshman season.
Ari can afford to play near the basket more and the lack of rebounds and assists might raise a bit of a flag, but it is clear that both he and Dino Gaudio are still trying to figure out what Stewart's role will be this year and where he is going to play.
11/13 vs. Oral Roberts: 8 points, 3/3 FG, 2/3 FT, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 TO, 1 steal
11/15 vs. ECU: 6 points, 1/3 FG, 4/4 FT, 1 assist, 1 TO
CJ has been the biggest surprise so far among the newcomers. We weren't exactly sure what to expect out of Harris early on. When BSD took our field trip to see him with Mount Tabor in the state playoffs, he impressed us with his control, smarts, defense and ability to make plays when he needed to.
It was clear to us that Harris was a.) an ACC player and b.) eventually going to be a good one. But we thought that it might take him a little while to get established and earn minutes.
But the things Harris did well are the kinds of things that can help to get a guy on the floor and stay there. He plays within himself and takes the shots that are given to him without doing too much. This team has enough playmakers, so it is perfect that Harris can be the kind of guy to give it to those players.
I don't see Harris scoring over double digits a ton, but if he stays around the 6-8 point, 3+ assist range, he will be a big part of the Deacs success.
11/13 vs. Oral Roberts: 0 points, 0/1 FG, 0/1 3PT
11/15 vs. ECU: 7 points, 2/3 FG, 1/2 FT, 2/3 3PT, 1 rebound
This was another guy who had a couple question marks as to what his role will be. Konner was recruited for his shooting ability and the fact that he can play the point a little bit. At 6'4", Tucker has good size, and the fact that he has a year of experience in JUCO helps as well.
In the ORU game, Tucker did not get a whole lot of playing time and did not have any plays designed around him, so it looked like he was standing in the corner a bit, but against ECU he showed his shooting touch. Tucker is another kid that will not try to do too much. He is here to shoot and manage the game and I don't see anything that will prove to me otherwise.
If, between Tucker and Clark, there will be some outside shooting consistency, again, this will be a nice piece to the puzzle.
I still have to see more of the three newcomers, but it is easy to get excited when you see positive minutes out of guys early on. The fact that the Demon Deacons won their first two games by 25.5 points doesn't hurt either.